UFC 296 Predictions, Odds and Fight Card: Best Bets for Leon Edwards vs. Colby Covington

Best bets and predictions for the final UFC event of 2023.

UFC 286: Edwards v Usman 3
UFC 286: Edwards v Usman 3 / Catherine Ivill/GettyImages

With the final MMA pay-per-view event of the year coming up, the UFC is looking to end 2023 with a bang.

As with all major UFC events, there is a lot of potential betting action to be had. The card in total has 14 fights and features five current or former promotional champions. Three additional fighters competing on Saturday have fought for the undisputed title unsuccessfully.

With big names headlining and an abundance of rising stars beneath them, there is a lot to like from a gambler's perspective. To help you out, here are my favorite spots on the loaded event.

All odds and lines according to DraftKings Sportsbook. Odds are subject to change.

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UFC 296 Best Bets

Tagir Ulanbekov -170

Not only is Tagir Ulanbelov a former pupil of the credentialed Khabib Nurmagomedov, but the Dagestani flyweight should probably be undefeated.

He was the unfortunate victim of one of the most egregious examples of a fighter getting away with cheating in his loss to Tim Elliott, and his only other defeat came against Zhalgas Zhumagulov, in a fight that looking back should likely have been a draw.

At 32, Ulanbekov is not a prospect on the rise like his teammate Umar Nurmagomedov. But similar to many other Eagles MMA fighters, Ulanbekov is a former combat sambo world champion before transitioning to MMA with elite pressure and control. He has likely underachieved in his UFC run so far, but this is a great showcase spot against Cody Durden.

Durden is a fine fighter and one who is definitely on a nice-looking run. And no disrespect to his skills, but he has been slightly overachieving. Durden is scrappy and fun, but I do not see him being a top-15 contender like Ulanbekov.

Where Durden excels, Ulanbekov is simply much better. If Durden can survive round one and extend the fight, it could get interesting, but the Russian is the faster and stronger man with better wrestling.

Vegas is starting to catch on as the line on the No. 15 ranked flyweight continues to grow.

Andre Fili -170

When it comes to the most under-appreciated UFC fighters, Andre Fili is at the top of the list. Fili's fights are always fun and though he may not be recognized by the casual fan, the Team Alpha Male product has already compiled 20 UFC fights in 10 years with the promotion.

In those 20 fights, Fili does have just a 10-9 record with one no-contest, and he has never been in the featherweight top-15. But looking at his resume, the Samoan's strength of schedule is amongst the best in the world. Fili's record may suggest he is average, but his losses only come to the division's elite.

Throughout his career, Fili has primarily struggled with heavy power punchers like Joanderson Brito, Michael Johnson and Calvin Kattar. Lucas Almeida — his UFC 296 opponent — is not that.

If Fili loses to Almeida, it would be his worst loss in a while. On top of that, Fili's last fight was a loss to Nathaniel Wood and he has never lost two in a row in his career.

Almeida is not a bad fighter at all, but this is a sizeable step up in competition even from his last loss against Pat Sabatini. Fili has seen it all and is essentially the gatekeeper to the top-15 of the division. This is a prime bounce-back spot for the veteran.

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change